Reminiscent of the mass reaction in the aftermath of the George Floyd lynching in May 2020, angry youth reacted in a similar situation in Philadelphia in the wake of a Sept. 26 decision by Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew to dismiss all charges against Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial, who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry, Jr on Aug. 14. As the evening developed, large groups of youth were taking to the streets across the city. Reports are coming in of youth expropriating expensive items from high priced Center City stores and in multiple shopping corridors — beyond what the cops can control.
University of Pennsylvania students who work as residence hall assistants will hold a unionization vote this fall, the National Labor Relations Board decided this week. The decision rejects Penn’s claim that students aren’t employees and don’t have the right to form a union. About 220 student workers filed paperwork with the NLRB in March to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153, which represents students in universities around the region. If the effort is successful, the union would be the first of its kind in the Philadelphia area. Students at other universities have formed unions in recent years following a 2016 NLRB ruling that allowed Columbia University graduate students to unionize.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - When Juan Placencia opened a ghost kitchen in Philadelphia at the end of 2020, the experience wasn’t what he expected. Even with his impressive credentials — he is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Arts and has experience in Michelin-starred restaurants and working with James Beard award-winner Christina Martinez — he struggled to make his take-out restaurant successful. “The investment in partaking in this type of system was much higher than a brick and mortar, but it wasn’t advertised that way,” he says. “Since then I began looking for a restaurant space.”
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - When the neofascist, racist, anti-trans, book-banning group Moms for Liberty comes to Philadelphia for their national summit June 29-July 2, those most at risk will be the workers at hotels, libraries, restaurants and other venues where M4L plans to meet. For weeks activists have protested outside the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, calling on the hotel to cancel the reservation of this known hate group and urging people to call the Marriott with the same message. At the Philadelphia Pride march June 4, speakers alerted the thousands gathered there to the danger of this upcoming convention, which features Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and other GOP presidential candidates as speakers.
As media critics, we encourage people to write letters to the editor, noting that even if your letter doesn’t run, it may help another letter with a similar point get in. Because a paper that gets one letter may not feel obliged to represent that view, but if they get 20, they may figure they should run one. All of which is to say, the New York Times must have got a boatload of letters scoffing at columnist Ross Douthat’s sad sack May 17 piece about how legalizing marijuana is a big mistake, not least because his opposition to it is making people call him a “square.” Unsurprisingly, Douthat isn’t being a principled contrarian, just obfuscating.
On a cool, clear April morning just past 8 a.m., the sprawling corporate campus of the world’s second largest asset manager was suddenly roused from its suburban Philadelphia calm. While about 20 activists broke into song, unfurled banners, stepped into the road and began blockading Vanguard’s entrances, around 80 more stood by in support. The ensuing commotion snarled traffic around the borough of Malvern, eventually slowing the flow of rush hour on Route 202 as drivers craned their necks toward a fleet of beaming police cars. Before most Vanguard employees had fired off their first email of the day, 16 people — aged 22 to 84 — were zip-tied at the wrists and hauled off to Chester County Prison.
Trans- and queer-led groups are protesting the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for agreeing to host the Moms for Liberty (M4L) national conference scheduled for June 29 to July 2. Members of ACT UP Philadelphia, Galaei Philly, Stop Moms for Liberty and other activists rallied outside the hotel May 12, calling on the Marriott to refuse to host the racist and transphobic group. Organizers are urging people to call the Marriott and demand that it “stop hosting hate.” Galaei, a nonprofit organization serving queer and trans Black, Indigenous and other people of color, suggests people tell the Marriott it will lose business if it does not cancel the M4L summit.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - After a months-long organizing campaign, the resident and fellow physicians at the University of Pennsylvania overwhelmingly voted to unionize with the Committee of Interns and Residents. With 88% of participants voting in favor, the frontline Penn Medicine doctors are the first statewide to gain union representation. Working at one of the region’s largest healthcare providers, Penn’s frontline physicians look forward to advocating for the conditions they need to provide top-quality care without compromising their mental, physical, or financial wellbeing. Despite working at one of the wealthiest university systems in the country, residents often struggle to make ends meet.
Philadelphia - Leading chants of “we saved the peoples townhomes” and “housing is a human right1” activist Krystal Strong opened a press conference and rally attended by University City Townhomes residents and supporters at 40th and Market streets on April 21. After a two-year struggle to stop the demolition and displacement of one of the few remaining predominantly Black and Brown affordable housing developments in Philadelphia, a tentative agreement was reached April 19 between the city and site owner IBID Associates, for the development of 70 new units of affordable housing on one-fifth of the 2.7-acre property.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - A show of force and unity will take place in Philadelphia April 29 with the message, “No Arena in the Heart of Our City.” Marching from Chinatown to the much-criticized proposed site of a new basketball arena and then on to City Hall, Chinatown residents and allies will be telling the City Council and the mayor that the people are united in opposing the blatant land grab by billionaire developers. In the words of the Save Chinatown Coalition: “The event will be a demonstration of joy, creativity and the power of connecting across communities. It will be a demonstration of fierce resistance to those who seek to tear apart communities and disrupt and distort the Heart of our City in their boundless drive for profits.”
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Philadelphia has agreed to build 70 units of affordable housing on a portion of the site containing the soon-to-be-shuttered University City Townhomes, the city announced last week. The forthcoming project is a piece of a settlement agreement stemming from a federal lawsuit the complex’s owners filed against the city last year in response to legislation passed by City Council. The measure was introduced as part of a broader effort to maintain affordability in a swiftly gentrifying section of the city, as well specifically at the site of the townhomes. The owners argued the bill violated their constitutional right to sell the blocklong complex at 39th and Market streets, calling it an abuse of power.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Fresh out of an abusive relationship, Andrea O’Reilly was ready to give her twin boys a new life. But facing a cost of living crisis atop a personal crisis, the prospect of buying the basics they would need — clothes, bottles, bouncers, a changing table, a baby monitor, car seats, strollers and more — was daunting. That’s when the Philadelphia mom decided to try her neighborhood Buy Nothing group, where hundreds of locals gave away and exchanged items for free. “I went to the Buy Nothing [Facebook] page and the compassion and generosity of everyone was amazing,” says O’Reilly, who asked to be quoted under a pseudonym amid a legal battle for custody of her children.
Today at 4:08 pm, March 31, 2023, Common Pleas court Judge Lucretia Clemons denied Mumia Abu-Jamal’s request for a new trial. This is simply devastating news. After 43 years in prison, Mumia Abu-Jamal has exhausted nearly all of his avenues for relief. Make no mistake: Justice required that Mumia Abu-Jamal be given a new trial. The enemy now is time. At 68 years old Mumia is suffering from cardiac disease and has had a double bypass, and nearly died from lack of treatment for acute Hepatitis C. If you put thick blinders on that block out all reality and rely on procedural minutia for cover, honestly, it is still impossible to avoid the scorchingly blatant racism of trial Judge Albert Sabo, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, Mayor and former police chief Frank Rizzo, District Attorney during Mumia’s trial Ed Rendell, and Ron Castille, DA and former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.